Protein is an essential part of our body’s nutrition, comprises of 17% of our body and main component of our skin, organs and muscles.
Here’s the top 5 high-protein vegan foods
Plant foods can be a great source of protein and of real benefit in helping to reduce animal proteins in the diet whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian or a vegan.
Quinoa is a seed and you can find white, red, black or mixed varieties. 100g of quinoa (cooked weight) will provide almost 4g protein, but it’s also known as a complete protein which means it contains all 22 of the essential amino acids, making it a great alternative to carbohydrates such as rice and couscous.
A pulse is actually an edible seed that grows in a pod, and this therefore includes all beans, peas and lentils. These make a great, low-fat and affordable source of plant protein and provide plenty of variety. Different pulses include:
- Lentils including Puy, green, and red: around 8-9g of protein per 100g
- Chickpeas, including hummus: 7g of protein per 100g
- Garden peas – around 7g per 100g
- Beans, including black-eyed, pinto, butter, cannellini, soya, edamame and kidney: between 7-10g protein per 100g
- Baked beans do count as a good source of protein but keep an eye on the salt content: 5g per 100g.
Tofu, or bean curd, is derived from soya and just 100g of tofu provides 8g protein. Tofu is very versatile as it can be cooked in many ways, including baking and stir-frying, as well as blending it into soups to make them creamier and higher in protein.
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are again very versatile and can be used with meals or as a snack to ensure adequate protein, and energy, is maintained throughout the day. Some of the best nut and seed proteins include:
- Hemp seeds – 5g per heaped tablespoon
- Ground linseed – 3g per heaped tablespoon
- Almonds – 3g of protein for every six almonds
- Walnuts – around 3g of protein for every three whole walnuts
- Pumpkin seeds – 4g per tablespoon
- Pistachios – just over 1g of protein over 10 pistachios
- Cashew nuts – 3g per 10 cashew nuts
- Brazil nuts – 4g per six Brazil nuts
Look out for peanut butter and nut butters too as another convenient protein source, but read the label to make sure they are 100% nuts and have no added oils, salt or sugars. One heaped tablespoon of smooth peanut butter provides just over 3g of protein.
4. Chia seeds
Just one tablespoon of chia seeds will provide almost 2g of protein, and they can be used in breakfasts, sprinkled over salads and soups, or as a healthy, protein-rich dessert. They also work as an excellent replacement to egg in vegan cooking as they are hydrophilic and will therefore expand when soaked in water for about twenty minutes.
Buckwheat is actually a seed that is high in both protein and fibre, with 100g providing about 5g of protein, and it’s also gluten-free. Buckwheat is becoming increasingly popular and can be found as flakes, groats, pasta and flours making it an excellent addition to a vegan diet.